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How to increase your writing speed

Wait, people still write these days? With tablets and smartphones and laptops everywhere, people are still picking up a pen and paper?

Yes, there are still reasons that people write. Maybe you need to take notes during a lecture, study session, or business meeting, just as a few examples. Typing can be distracting in such settings, making writing a better alternative.

Writing certainly does take more effort than typing does. However, with some knowledge and some practice, you can learn to write faster. When you write faster, you may even discover it to be more efficient than typing.

Keep it short

By using fewer words, you can save time when writing, especially when taking notes. No, this isn’t actually making you write faster, but you’re writing less, and that’s more efficient.

Another way to save time and space is to use abbreviations and symbols when you can. It takes less time to write w/ instead of with, and to write < and > instead of less than and greater than. You can also use + and – in place of pros and cons, benefits and drawbacks, etc.

Writing instead of typing

Research at more than one respected university has found that writing improves retention of information. When we type, we have a tendency not to process the information we’re typing. As we write, we focus more, and the information stays in our brains more easily.

Writing also improves accuracy. How many times have you sent off a text and moments later thought “Ugh” upon seeing an embarrassing typo? Writing doesn’t mean no mistakes ever, but writing is better than typing because the increased focus makes it more likely you’ll avoid or catch mistakes.

Once you’re used to it and have sharpened skills, writing can also be faster than typing. You also won’t be wasting time logging in, opening an app, entering passwords, etc.

Learn touch typing

If you have to stay digital, though, you can improve speed by learning touch typing. This means you can type without looking at the keys. Each finger has its own section of the keyboard, and over time, you learn the location of each key and develop muscle memory.

There are plenty of online courses that teach touch typing. If you want to work as a secretary or any other role that requires lots of typing, consider learning touch typing.

Use shorthand

Shorthand writing has a long history dating back to Ancient Greece. Journalists, secretaries, and court stenographers still use an electronic version of shorthand so they can keep up with what they have to transcribe.

Shorthand writing is faster than longhand (traditional) writing because it makes use of symbols instead of full or abbreviated words. There are many different styles of shorthand, and we’re going to briefly look at three original systems from the “modern” and one that’s popular today.

Pitman Shorthand

Developed by an practice English by skype man named Sir Isaac Pitman in the early 19th century, this style was at the time the easiest to learn. The Pitman used geometrical shapes and a series of quick lines instead of the alphabet.

Gregg Shorthand

In 1888, John Robert Gregg developed his version. Gregg used cursive as a basis and created a series of elliptical lines bisected by other lines. Although this style was harder to learn, it became the most popular in the United States and remains so to this day.

Teeline Shorthand

James Hill developed this style in 1968, and it’s the most common style used in the U.K. Teeline facilitates fast learning and speed. In fact, people proficient in Teeline can write as many as 150 words per minute!

Ford Improved Shorthand

A style that’s become popular in this digital age is Ford Improved. Because of shorter lines and staying closer to the alphabet, people can learn this style quickly, sometimes in just 15 minutes! Michael Ford developed this in 2012 to replace the older, outdated ones.

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